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Guidelines for nominations

University of Ottawa Award for Excellence in Teaching


A nomination may be initiated by any University of Ottawa student, alumna, faculty member, or administrator.

Nominations are addressed to the dean of the nominee’s faculty.

Nomination files must not exceed 35 pages, excluding cover pages, table of contents, divider pages, and the curriculum vitae of the nominee.

Nomination files must use a standard 12-point font with one (1) inch margins, and each page must be numbered.


Consent of the nominee is essential and must be indicated.

Review and endorsements

Whenever feasible, nominations should be reviewed and endorsed by the department chair or the director of the school and the departmental or school teaching personnel committee.

The teaching personnel committee of the faculty (FTPC) selects the nominations which are to be forwarded to the Teaching Awards Committee.

The FTPC prepares a brief in support of each candidate. The brief should

  • present the main elements of the case
  • indicate where and with what priority supporting material is applicable
  • summarize or extract important documents
  • state explicitly on which categories of teaching and on what evidence the nomination is based
  • summarize and interpret the student rating data
  • maximize the amount of information
  • The dean shall forward the brief along with appropriate supporting documentation and his own recommendation to the Teaching Awards Committee.

Supporting documents

A variety of supporting documents is preferable to endless, repetitive letters from only one source.

Typical supporting documents include:

  • the curriculum vitae of the nominee – required for every nomination,
  • peer evaluations and reviews,
  • endorsement by department chairs or directors of schools, deans, teaching personnel committees, etc.,
  • objective evidence of student learning,
  • data to permit comparison with other teachers and show that the nominee is truly outstanding,

Please ensure that as many of the following sections as appropriate are among those included in the file:

(a) Nomination Letter (Prepared by nominator), Letter of Endorsement: (Prepared by dean and/or FTPC)

These letters are of paramount importance insomuch as they put in context the overarching achievements of the nominee and draw committee members’ attention to evidence in the submission from the author’s/authors’ point of view.  It does this by highlighting pertinent teaching and educational leadership accomplishments, digests of teaching metrics and testimonials, as evidenced in the file.

 (b)  Statement of Teaching Philosophy: (Prepared by nominee)

The nominee prepares a statement of teaching philosophy explaining her general approach to teaching and guidance of students.  It can also be used to draw attention to special efforts and strategies employed by nominees in their enhancement of knowledge and material delivery.

 (c)  Description of New or Innovative Teaching Initiatives and Strategies: (Prepared by nominee)

In this section, nominees elaborate on new and innovative initiatives and strategies they developed or co-developed for the purpose of enhancing delivery of course content or knowledge.  [New courses do not belong here – see (f).] Elaborations should explain how these initiatives and strategies fulfill the nominees’ statements of teaching philosophy. It should be noted that initiatives in establishing or overhauling undergraduate or graduate programs, when well reasoned and cast in light of the stated teaching philosophy, should be included here.

(d)  Educational Leadership: (Prepared by dean or nominating colleague)

Explain if possible how your nominees’ activities and vision have had an impact on students and colleagues. The activities may include participation in educational colloquies or conferences, guidance of new hires or of teaching assistants, active participation on curriculum committees, and mentoring of graduate students hired as sessional lecturers.

 (e)  Documentation of Acknowledged Teaching Excellence: (Prepared by dean or nominating colleague)

List the individuals’ previous nominations for teaching awards, awards obtained, teaching grants applied for, whether failed or successful, and if successful, what was accomplished.

 (f)   Metrics on Teaching: (Prepared by dean or nominating colleague)
  1. Tabulate all courses taught by year, the language of instruction, their level, whether the course is compulsory or elective, and the number of students in each offering.  Highlight and comment on special efforts given to preparation of new courses.  Indicate sections of courses offered by nominees both in French and English.
  2. Provide a summary of teaching evaluations, (the evaluations themselves should be included in an appendix) with enough depth to ascertain sustained good evaluations.  Please note that past committees have traditionally taken into account the level of the course, whether the course is compulsory or elective, the number of times it has been offered and progression of the evaluations in the course, the number of students in the course and the number of respondents, and the workload of nominees. Consequently, it is vital to include comments by someone very familiar with these aspects.
 (g)   Testimonials
  1. Signed Letters from Colleagues
    Include a few letters from colleagues highlighting the accomplishments and impact of nominees on academic teaching, development of courses and curriculum. Vague statements of support are not informative or helpful.
  2.  Signed Letters from Students (Faculty or departmental student associations could be involved in organizing these)
    Include a few letters from past and present students highlighting the impact nominees had on their education, learning, and appreciation of the material taught. Please note that letters of support from students who are currently being taught should be avoided in order to eliminate the perception of coercion. Again, vague statements of support are not informative or helpful.